When first launching your own eCommerce website on Shopify, most eCommerce sellers come armed with research on product prices, shipping strategies, and reviews of local businesses and similar Shopify stores. However, your real competition could be much bigger than you think.
Marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart have big budgets for attracting, converting, and retaining online shoppers. Those budgets work to draw millions of online shoppers from around the world.
Many of the features and tactics used to incentivize shoppers to play and stay on online marketplaces are easily replicated in your Shopify store. Even better, many of the negative traits of these sales channels are easily overcome by selling on your own website – allowing you to attract both marketplace converts and skeptics alike.
What are these tactics and features that your Shopify store needs to compete with big marketplaces? Let’s find out.
What your Shopify store needs to compete with big marketplaces
Amazon, Walmart, and eBay are all household names that we know, trust, and go to first (and second) when looking to buy online. They have all built a brand synonymous with online shopping, and you need to do the same.
Strong branding is essential for attracting customers away from online marketplaces to your Shopify store. Ramp up your brand awareness strategy by:
- Choosing a Shopify theme that lends itself to strong branding through storytelling videos, prominent logos, and customer testimonials.
- Creating social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and keeping them active with regular posts about your products, customers, and brand.
- Investing in PPC ads on Google and social media to get your name and products in front of different audiences.
Following closely after branding is SEO. While ads, social media, and strong branding will get you noticed by customers searching for your brand or products, what about those who are at the very beginning of their purchasing journey?
Good Shopify SEO enables you to reach shoppers who are searching for words or phrases related to your products on Google or Bing. And, by adopting a long-tail keyword strategy, you can often beat Amazon and Walmart in the search results. Simply use keyword research tools such as Übersuggest, Answer the Public, and Keyword Tool to identify keyword; research the competition using Google Keyword Planner; and then target them using your website and product page content.
Humans are naturally risk-averse, and online marketplaces appeal to this trait by offering new and first-time shoppers a name they can trust, secure refund policies, and fast shipping they can rely upon.
While you don’t have the years of Walmart or the experience of Amazon behind you to establish trust immediately, you can drastically reduce shoppers’ risk of buying from you and increase your credibility through:
- Money-back guarantees for quality, satisfaction, and delivery dates
- Professional and consistent branding and copy throughout your store
- Customer testimonials about what it’s like buying from you
- Secure payment options
87% of online shoppers will head to Amazon to compare a product’s price, because online marketplaces are known for being the cheapest around. But, entering a price war with a brand that has money to lose is a surefire way to damage profits and, potentially, lose customers.
Your best weapon for competing against marketplace price is offering overall value. Customers are happy to spend more in return for quality, sustainability, and outstanding customer service. Think of different ways you can provide more value than price and then use storytelling, banners, and social media to communicate this value to customers.
Fast shipping is one of the top purchase drivers, and online marketplaces use it to attract customers. Amazon, Walmart, and eBay all offer fast shipping programs that guarantee deliveries in as little as one day. How do you compete when you don’t have Amazon’s fleet of FBA planes, trucks, and couriers?
You have two options:
1. In-house fulfillment
While it involves time, space, and investment, it is possible to achieve and maintain 2-day delivery in-house. Fundamental features for success include:
- Warehouse space that is optimized to achieve quick computer-to-door order flow
- Warehouse staff that quickly process orders
- Shipping carriers who deliver in the required time
- Flexible space and resource for peak periods
If in-house fulfillment isn’t possible (or attractive), then use an outsourced fulfillment partner that supports 2-day delivery on Shopify. This will allow you to achieve the same fast delivery as online marketplaces without the stress.
Look for the following when picking the right outsourced fulfillment partner.
- Guaranteed 2-day deliveries for customers with fast shipping badges you can display across your website
- Direct integration with Shopify to allow for fast order receipt and processing
- Multiple warehouse locations to enable 2-day and even NextDay deliveries
- Transparent pricing (tip: use our fulfillment cost calculator to find your exact costs)
Fast shipping is great, but when big marketplaces are offering fast and free shipping, you should be doing so as well. Free shipping is hugely attractive to shoppers because it increases the perceived value of an item and, in the case of Amazon Prime, shoppers have already paid for the privilege so they are unwilling to pay for it again.
With the right pricing strategy and fulfillment method, you can absorb the cost of free shipping without it adversely affecting your profits.
Online shoppers flock to the big marketplaces because they know what to expect – even if that expectation isn’t very high. Missing deliveries, damaged items, poor-quality products, and slow customer service have all been overlooked by marketplace shoppers who are otherwise happy with the value, fast shipping, and convenience they receive.
Your secret weapon to competing and beating the big marketplaces is providing all of the above, but with a smile. By that we mean:
- Building customer lifetime value through loyalty schemes, personalized experiences, and trusted service
- Enhancing customer experience by delivering items as described and on time
- Become a brand that people relate to, enjoy shopping with, and are happy to recommend
And if you can’t beat them…
Join them. Multi-channel selling allows you to meet customers on the big marketplaces and then continue that relationship on your Shopify store by using the above methods to attract them away and make them stay.